Monday, November 22, 2010


PROBIOTICS are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Our intestines have been populated with friendly bacteria since birth. We carry, as an adult, eight pounds of this biomass. It is another independent living organ inside of us that has evolve with us since ancient times. Periodically, to maintain a healthy environment after ingestive problems, and certainly after taking antibiotics, I recommend replanting our gut with probiotics. These are a live culture of both bacteria and yeast that are dedicated not only to discouraging unfriendly organisms from taking up residence in our gut, but proper pH, gas production and stool consistency.

Probiotics also help decrease the incidence of intestinal diseases. These diseases include peptic ulcer (caused by a hostile bacteria: H. pylori) “colitis,” gallbladder disease, and colon cancer. A whole host of non intestinal problems such as hypertension, Vitamin K production, hyperlipdemia, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, better immunity, and urogenital disease. They also produce signaling chemicals that go to our liver that improve or worsen our body structure and function such as in our skin acne and rosacea. Antibiotics wipe out dozens of spieces and end up making us less healthy in the long run.

Composition of an individual’s gut microflora is a recently recognized factor in diet-related obesity. Two groups of the bacterial phylum of micro-flora are dominant in the human gut, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes. The relative proportion of Bacteroidetes is decreased in obese people by comparison with lean people, and that this proportion increases with weight loss
An obese phenotype has been associated with a relative abundance of the bacterial phylum Firmicutes, resulting in increased ‘energy-harvest’ or caloric extraction from the diet. Firmicutes are predominantly Clostridium, but include Lactobacillus, some of which are in the probiotics we unknowingly recommend!

In terms of effects on intestinal carbohydrate and lipid-digesting enzymes, it has been shown that if the population of Firmicutes outnumbers Bacteroidetes, partially digested complex carbohydrates are broken down rather than eliminated through the stool. These, then, form simple sugars that are easily absorbed in the blood stream. A special chemical is elaborated by this bacterial digestion. This encourages the sugar to be directly made into triglycerides by the liver and preferentially stored by fat cells rather than burned! Additionally the certain stains within the Bacteroidetes produce a lipid digesting enzyme. The net result of having more Bacteroidetes and less Firmicutes is a decrease ‘energy-harvest’ or caloric extraction from the diet and a loss of 100 calories a day which represents 12 pounds a year just by having the right ratio of the B/F. There have been some specific bacteria of the Bacteroidetes group such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus PL60 which produces conjugated linoleic acid and in itself has anti-obesity effects. The combination of pre- and probiotics, known as synbiotics, has been proposed to characterize some functional foods with interesting nutritional properties that make these compounds candidates for a weight loss program. One such is high-amylose-resistant cornstarch laced with Lactobacillus rhamnosus PL60 and other Bacteroidetes spiecies. Some scientist have even proposed to rid the gut of most of the Firmicutes with Xifaxan and then repopulate with Bacteroidetes.

It is by no accident that we have thes two opposing groups of bacteria. With famines, these floral reverse ratios were life savers, but in modern times, with too much food and too little activity, it is a killer. Therefore, a high B/F ratio causes weight loss and a low ratio, weight gain. Some scientists have proposed that High Frutcose Corn Syrup is a prebiotic for the Firmicutes group thus favoring the spread of this fattening factor to modern human kind. This adds insult to injury to the high empty carb load for more fat gain.


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  2. I have read about the studies on obesity and Bacteroidetes flora. I'd like to ask if you could recommend any food and/or supplements to boost the amount of Bacteroidetes in the gut?

    I had been having great success losing weight on a low carb diet. But a month ago, I took a course of Augmentin to get over a sinus infection.
    Since then the weight loss has stopped completely.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.